Here is information on the family from Barbara Lynch, a descendent of the Malbons, who lives in British Columbia and who has done extensive research on the family as it existed in England, pre-1700. You will find it interesting.

Excerpts from Draycot, Walter, History of the Draycots of Staffordshire and Malbons/Malbanks of Cheshire, also Draycots of Ireland (unpublished, 1936). Housed in the William Salt Library, Stafford.

[Foreword: History compiled over a period of 26 years, consulted parish registers and other sources.]

THE MALBEDENC FAMILY

In the course of record searching it was my good fortune to meet with a descendant, in the male line, of the Staffordshire Draycots. Although possessed of bundles of parchment documents concerning the family, he, with canny reluctance, permitted but a brief view of them. They will be given to an established institution after my demise. At present I have no desire to be publicly quoted and annoyed was his answer to my question regarding their ultimate disposal.

He claimed the family were anciently united with the royal line of Germany and Egbert of England. Malbedeng, he said, was of distinct German-Saxon origin though the last syllable deng should be spelled denc or denk. The surname was derived from a peculiarity of one of my forbears and signifies continually in doubt, thought, meditation! In other words, being dubious we consider at length before taking action. Documentary proof settles all arguments, providing the manuscript is genuine. To say it exists is not sufficient so the following must be taken for what it is worth: A certain Alfred, descended from Ethelred II, justiciar and counsellor, son of another Alfred styled Monachus, received the sobriquet Malbedenc at the German court in Aachen through the length of time he took to give a decision. At Trier, where he had an estate, he acted as advisor to Archbishop Poppo for the restoration of the Cathedral there. He was frequently at the English Court with his sons, one of whom was Alfred and another William; there were two daughters. Audilicia, a daughter of the house of Vermandois, was his wife. In his old age he entered a monastery.

His son Alfred was also a justiciar, after his father, and travelled much to and from England in the service of the ecclesiastic authorities. Besides an estate in Germany he held considerable property in Normandy. (About the year 1068 Alfred Malbedenc granted his lands at Giberville, in Calvados, to the Abbey of Troarn, in the Diocese of Bayeux. Giberville is about five miles from Troarn. Among other places we find him at Bayeux witnessing a document. The Queen of England is present to hear the reading of an agreement between the Abbot of St. Michael and William Pennell (Pagenal) in reference to the Conqueror disposing of the hand of an heiress who holds an honour of the Abbey of Mont Saint Michel, and her husband receiving aids, and suit of court from the men of the honour.

Testifying to the existence of the that day and date in history, Roger de Montgomery, Roger de Beaumont, Humfrey de Bohun, Hubert de Port, Turgis de Tracy, Geoffrey de Say, etc. Alfred signs as AVEREDUS MALBEDENC.

As the name of Malbedenc does not appear on the Battle Abbey Roll we may presume they did not accompany the Duke William on the trip over the Channel but waited until affairs were better settled and the journey not so hazardous! On second thought it might possibly have been a desire not to participate on the grounds of incurring displeasure among their kinsfolk. Whatever it was William was true to his surname of Malbedenc, which reminds me of the Asquithian advice of Wait and See!

Answering a distress call from Duke William, who was now established as King of England, his nephew Hugh Lupus is invited over in 1070 to subdue the turbulent Welsh in the County of Cheshire. Afraid to go alone he take his cousin William Malbedenc and other cousins, who all have their retainers. We presume they sailed in their own fleet and landed on the banks of the Dee. History has omitted to record this item.

That William Malbedenc was in bad company we can only refer to some notes taken from Thierry History of the Norman Conquest, Vol. I: Gerbod, or Gherbaud, the Fleming, the first captain to bear the title of Earl of Chester. Having too much trouble with the English and the Welsh he gave up the Earldom in disgust and retired to Flanders. Hereupon King William gave the honour and territory to Hugh Avranches, son of Richard Gosse, surnamed Hugh de Loup who bore a wolf head painted on his shield. Hugh and his lieutenants conquered Flintshire which became part of the Norman county of Cheshire and built a fortress at Rhuddlan. One of these lieutenants, Robert Avranches, changed his name to Robert de Rhuddlan and from an opposite fancy Robert de Malpas, governor of another castle built on a steep hill, gave his own name to this place, which still bears it.They both, says an ancient historian, made war with ferocity and shed at pleasure the blood of the Welsh.

It is pleasing to note William Malbedenc name is not included in the above account, nor any other account, but nevertheless he was near at hand we can be sure. Some historians were paid to extoll the virtues of men in high laces while the quiet monkish free-lance writer of the day penned the true inside story, which reminds us of the lines of Robert Burns, chield amang ye takin notes an faith he print.

Now for the character of William cousin, Hugh Lupus,taken at large from the pages of the Dictionary of National Biography: Hugh of Avranches, Earl of Chester (ob. 1101), perhaps nephew of William the Conqueror. As Viscount of Avranches he contributed 60 ships for the invasion of England (1066). Received earldom of Chester with Palatine powers in 1071 and lands in 20 shires; faithful to William I in England but supporting his brother Henry in Normandy

[List of manors ceded to William de Malbedenc, as per the Domesday book.] =

In reference to Clayton and Wepre [Flintshire], a footnote states, Probably the reward for his services in the Welsh campaign that resulted in the addition of Flintshire and part of Denbigh to the Earldom of Chester.

A Mr. Platt, in his History of Nantwich, 1818, speaks of the ancient grandeur of the castle erected at Nantwich by William Malbedeng, the first Baron, and describes it as square, surmounted at each angle with turrets. The outer walls were defended by a moat of considerable breadth, passable only by a drawbridge.

This statement is discounted by Hall who writes, The earliest mention of Nantwich Castle occurs in an Inquisition, dated 1288 Occasionally in the Cheshire records during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the Castle is mentioned.

He [Ranulph, 4th Earl of Chester] attacked the king's [Stephen's] forts meanwhile building some for his own protection, principally at Lincoln and Coventry. Here, in ambush, capturing the king's troops; there, in skirmish, slaying and putting to flight. Gilbert (de Clare) Earl of Herts, hostage for Randolph (Ranulph) his uncle, lay in custody but escapes and joins the insurrection.

It is monstrous,said Stephen, that he, whom from a penniless knight I made an argulent Earl and to whom I have granted all his hearts desires, should join my adversaries. Where is faith? Where shame? Let us rise and speedily punish which he did!

During this avaricious and bloodthirsty mess we stare at Ranulph, then at his barons whose leader Ranulph was! One cannot say definitely what his attitude was but in any case he had to fight with the others for the tenure of his barony called for that support a pledge for Hugh Malbedenc; and for others who held land for service of a military nature. The monk was the wisest human methinks!

William Malbedenc, Hugh's father, received the Barony as a gift without having to fight for it; though he afterwards did a little skirmishing to please Earl Hugh. It seems Hugh Malbedenc, his son William, and the whole family were forced to take part in the Earl of Chester's wars and whimsical skirmishes. We still have earls and barons today but it is somewhat different!

Matilda's son Henry (II) arrives in England in 1153 with a force of 3,000 to start another bloody mess. After a few blood-baths Stephen and Henry come to an agreement. The barons took oath of fealty to Henry. On the 26th October Stephen died, in the year 1154. It was doubtless a comfort to Stephen to learn of the death of the traitorous Ranulph on December 16th of the previous year. Ranulph, 4th Earl of Chester, died having been poisoned it was said by his wife Maud in conjunction with William Peveril of the Honour of Peveril (of the Peak in Derbyshire). In consequence of this act of wickedness and of treason his estates were forfeited to the crown, temp. Hen. II 1155. His treason was the support he gave to King Stephen against the ex Empress Maud, widow of Hen. V of Germany. It will be recalled Hugh Lupus, Earl of C., was also poisoned by his wife. These wives had a reason. So, poor William Peveril another martyr for the public cause!

We may judge Ranulph' soul was of more importance than his character when we read, Hugh, Earl of Chester (son and heir) and the Countess Matilda his mother notify the Constable, the Steward, the Justices, the barons,and all their men, that for the absolution of the Lord Earl Ranulf, and for the redemption of his soul and in particular for the harm done to the Bishop and the Church, they have given to Walter (Durant),Bishop of Chester and his successors, and to its mother Church, Stivinghale, with the mill appurtenances of the vil etc. etc.

Testifying: Eustace (fitzJohn), Constable (of Chester), Rob. (de Vostalt, hereditary ) Steward: William Malbanc; Will Patric; Rob. Banastre; Thomas de Verdun; Alfred (Aluredus) de Co; Hugh the Falconer. (Ex m. Salt qto. Vol 1924, p. 30-1).

In this document, drawn up between the years 1154 to 1157, appears the name of William Malbanc Malbedenc, son and heir of Hugh Malbanc, also the name of Alfred de Combrai or Cambray, a relative of the Malbedenc family. Geoffrey, a son of Hugh Malbedenc, was an official at the court of the Earl of Chester; he married Beatrice de Bec, dau. Of Geoffrey de Bec, and had an only daughter Basilea who married Alfred de Cambray. Their issue were Roger, John, Peter, and a daughter, Alicia, who married Simon Aldithley, or Touchet. They were apparently in possession in or at Tattenhall, for Basilea confirms, with Roger, her son, Baron Malbedenc's grant of tithes at Tattenhall to the Abbey of Chester.

Another son of Hugh's was Philip who married Alice de Aldithley; this branch of the Malbedencs was granted the manor of Bradley in Cheshire, of which more later.

A daughter, Beatrice, married John de Beresford of Alstonfield, direct male line terminating with William Beresford of Esher where his ancient deeds were seen by me.

Auda, another daughter, though another authority gives Petronilla, married Robert de Brecy or Bresay who had sons, one of whom, Robert, was called Black nephew by William the 3rd Baron.

The wife of Hugh, Baron Malbedenc, was Petronilla, a daughter of Peter of the House of Vermandois.

WILLIAM MALBEDENC
Third Baron of Wich-Malbanc

Hall, in his History of Nantwich, states: William Malbank, son and heir of Hugh Malbank and Petronilla, succeeded his father, and was the last of the Norman Barons of Wich-Malbank in the male line. In the additional MSS. Brit. Museum No. 6032, p. 94, is a charter of this Baron, granting a salt-pit (i.e. a wich-house) in Wich-Malbank to the Monastery of Wenlock, Co. Salop, witnessed by Robert, Abbot of Chester &c, who was probably Robert fitzNigel, fourth Abbot of St. Werburgh, Chester, from 1157 to 1174.

William Malbank confirmed his father=92s charter to Combermere Abbey and adding donations and privileges thereto. This confirmation charter is printed in Dr.Ormerod's Cheshire (iii, p. 418 New Edit.) from Harl MSS. 3862, 12, of which the following is a translation:

In the name of the Holy Trinity, I, William Maubanc, being not unmindful of the mercies of God, concede and confirm to my maker, the Lord God Almighty, to Saint Mary, and Saint Michael the Archangel, to all saints and to the monks of Combermere, in smaller alms and whatever my father gave and conceded to them. I grant and confirm freely, peaceably, and honorably, and from all secular exaction, the site of the Abbey and Church of Combermere; also four carucates of land in Wilkesley and whatever belongs to that manor; and all fields, pastures, water-courses, roads and footpaths in the plain and wood of the said Combermere; and what they shall make in wood and plain, and whatever they shall demand, enclose, or assess, let them have all which may be there, or shall be made there, forever, besides all deer and boars. I also give and grant fully to them and their successors common of pasture in all my woods and pastures at Stone with their appurtenances, except in my forest of Coole. Also (I give) tithe of my salt and of my manor of Wych, and a tenth of the corrody* of my house. Moreover, I give and grant to the forsaid monks the patronage of the Churches of Acton, Sandon (Staffordshire), Alstonfield (Staffordshire, where John Beresford had married his aunt Beatrice Malbedenc) with a chapel; also, a land in the manor of Dycheley; and the mill of Checkley with all the fishings, and all their appurtenances in free, pure, and perpetual alms (prob. the village near Draycot le Moors, co. Staffs). The witnesses to these donations and grants are these: Archibald, son of William, William the Chaplain, son of =85 Robert le Praers, Reginald son of Archibald of Malbank, Adam de Audleye, William de Areci (Darcy), Adam Wachet, Robert son of William, Hugh de Draycot (son of Nicholas de Draycot, co. Staffs), Roger de Henhull, William son of Hunfredi, Richard de Aresci, Clemens, clerk, and many others.

*A corrody is a sum of money or amount of provisions granted for the maintenance of one of the Abbot=92s servants or dependents; perhaps for the officiating priest for the time being at the chapel of Nantwich.

Hall continues,
Fn. In Doddsworth MSS Vol. xxxi.f.148 (Bod. Lib. Oxford) is an abstract of an undated charter, in which William Malbanc gives a salt-house in Wich-Malbanc to Robert le Praers. These being witnesses, Nicholas son of William (de Malbedenc, later Draycot), Reginald son of Herchenbald (Archibald?) his steward (dapifero), Henry de Crewe, Roger son of Odenot (Woodnoth), Adam son of Liulph of Aldithley, Alured (Alfred) de Cambray, Roger his son, Adam Wachet, Peter Morbury, Richard le Praers. The impression upon the seal is a Knight on horseback.

Very little is known of the activities of this 3rd Baron Malbedenc, other than giving property away to scheming church dignities. Having to do the bidding of his overlord the Earl of Chester it is possible that he went to France in the Earl's retinue to fight for Henry, the hot-headed young prince who took up arms against his father, Henry II; the Earl and his party became prisoners in the strong fortress of Falaise where they languished for a year until finally ransomed. William having to contribute would levy the landholders of his Barony. That was in the year 1174. The Earl was buried at Leek, a stones throw from Draycot le Moors. During long absence from the Barony in the English wars of the former Earl, this William, with his father Hugh, the 2nd Baron, would witness that the whole country was laid waste by the Welsh and that he was present when a successful resistance was made against the invaders at his town of Wich-Malbanc.

William the 3rd and last Baron Malbedenc married Auda, daughter of Stephen de Beauchamp, Sheriff of Staffordshire. At his death in, or about, 1190, he left no male heir but three daughters living, Philippa, Eleanor, and Auda, between whom the Barony was divided, as Hall states, proved by an Inquisition taken at Chester on Tuesday next after the feast of the Ascension (May 15) in the 16 Edw. I (1288) before Reginald Gray, then Justice of Chester (from 1282-1300) in time of the war in Wales, in order to show what services were due to the King at that time. A copy of this Inquisition in Latin is preserved in Harl. MSS.2115 F.135, of which the following is a translation, reciting that: Dns (Lord) William Malbanc formerly held the whole Barony of Wich-Malbanc; and because he died without male heirs the Barony was divided amongst (three) daughters in the following manner. The first daughter (Philippa) had a third part of Wich-Malbanc with a castle of the same, excepting those lands which the same William gave before to the Abbey of Combermere; a third part of the manors of Newhall, Aston-juxta-Hurleston, Acton and Haslington in demesne; a third part of Coole and Woolstanwood. She had also the homage and services of the following lordships and vills, namely, Bartumleghe, Crue (Crewe), Leghton, Aston in Mondrem, Cholmeston, Stoke, Landican; two parts of Tranmoll, Buyrton, Alvaston, Church Minshull, Wistaston, Roper, Willaston, White Poole, Norbury, Wirswall, Row Shotwick and Thingwall.

The second daughter (Eleanor) had a third part of Wich-Malbanc, excepting the lands conceded to the Abbey of Combermere; a third part of Coole and Woolstanwood; and two parts of the manor of Newhall, Aston-juxta-Mondrem, and Hurleston and Acton in demesne. Also she had the homage and services of the lordships and vills undermentioned, namely, of Becheton, Hassal, Worlaston, Wrenbury, Chorle, Backford, Monks-Coppenhall, Over-Bebbington; two parts of Barneston, Badington, Broomhall, Sonde, Alstanton, Bartheton, Chorlton, Tiverton; and a moiety of Wordhull, the same, with all the services are now (1288) in the hands of James Audley. And it is known that Hatherton is in the hundred of Wich-Malbanc, but in which division of the Barony it has passed is not known. Also Blakenhall, Checkely, Dudington, Briddesmere, Hunsterton, and Lee, are not in this Barony but of the Barony of Shipbroke (Vernons) and Kinderton.

The third daughter (Auda) had a third part of Wich-Malbanc, excepting the lands conceded to the Abbey of Combermere; a third part of Coole and Woolstanwood; one part of the manors of Hurleston and Acton; and two parts of Haslington in demesne; she had also the homage and services of the lordships and vills of Audlem, Hankelow, Titenlegh, Marbury, Stapelegh, Badelegh, Fadelegh, Burlond, Edlaston, Barretspoole, Weston, Wydenbury, Hough, Saunton (Shavington), Walkerton, Church Coppenhall, Henhull, Alsager; a third part of Cherlton, and Wistaston and Penesby.

Mem. That the aforesaid Barony is held of our lord King (Edw. I) as Earl of Chester, in capite.

The above description of the property comprising the Barony, extensive though it was, does not actually convey to us its completeness. There is no mention of holdings outside Cheshire; and they were considerable in other counties. Hugh de Draycot (formerly Malbedenc) was given a fair-sized estate in Staffordshire while a few miles away at Alstonfield John de Beresford held his lands under Hugh, 2nd Baron Malbedenc; Auda, the widow of William Malbedenc, is noticed by disposing of a burgage at Lichfield.* Further afield is an estate in co. Dorset held by Philip Malbanc (Malbedenc) whose overlord was John Biset, who had married Alice Basset daughter of Philippa Malbedenc the co-heiress of the Barony and Lord Thomas Basset. Sufficient this to show the Barony was of larger dimension than given above.

*Magnum Registrum Album, Wm. S. Soc.
Further proof of the founding of the Hospital of St. Nicholas: An Inquisition Post Mortem dated 6 Hen.1 (1104-5) recites that William Maubanc, formerly lord and Baron of Nantwich, died seized of the site of St. Nicholas Hospital in Nantwich, a Hall, and two salt pits with all the lands and perquisites belonging to the said Hospital. These were granted by him to God and to St. Nicholas of the said Hospital in pure and perpetual alms to support a certain priest celebrating Divine Service in the said Hospital for ever (Hall Nantwich).

Though the Barony passed to other families through want of male heirs we find collateral branches carrying the old name but with changed spelling as Malbedene, Maubanc, Malbanc, Malbon, etc.

MALBON family

PHILIP de Maubanc was a son of Hugh, 2nd Baron of Wich-Malbanc; he had a son WILLIAM Malbanc, or, as it is later on, Malbon, who was granted lands in Cheshire by Joan (daughter of Lady Philippa, co-heiress of the Wich-Malbanc Barony) who had married Reginald Valletort. Their descendants the Malbons paid a chief rent for the gift of lands at Bradeley in the township of Haslington, Cheshire.

William had a son THOMAS MALBON, the first so named of any of the Malbons, evidently christened so after Thomas Basset, Joan=92s father. He was succeeded by a son WILLIAM MALBON, who as an esquire served in the wars with his brother or cousin, Ralph. His son and heir was THOMAS MALBON who, in Richard II time was outlawed several times but when Henry Bolingbroke succeeded as Henry IV, on 30th September, 1399 we find him as a Justice of the Peace. When Hen. IV became king great fear and anxiety prevailed amongst Cheshire people, states Hall, on account of their adherence to the deposed King, and from the fact that lawless bands of armed men had committed great robberies and murders in the adjacent counties of Salop, Stafford, and Derby. But one of the first acts of King Henry was the granting of a general pardon to his subjects in this county. By commission dated 23rd January, 1399-1400, the following Justices of the Peace for Nantwich Hundred, namely:- John de Delves, Richard le Vernon, Thomas de Fouleshurst of Edlaston, Thomas le Maistresson of Nantwich, Richard le Mascy del Hogh (of Hough), William de Beeston, William de Crue of Sond, THOMAS MALBON, Thomas Daukynson, Richard son of Roger de Cholmondeley, Hugh del Malpas, David le Seintpere, John de Kingeslegh, Richard de Roope and David le Crue of Pulcroft, were to make proclamation of pardon to all those who had through fear joined the rebels, on their returning to their homes; and also that poor people should not be frightened. Thomas was murdered by Nicholas Parker, Robert Swinerton and other cut-throats that appeared to be well-practised in that art at this period. They were indicted by his widow Ellen. In all probability they would be pardoned for the offence after appealing to the King or they would abdure the country. His death occurred in 1408-9 and a writ de melius inquirendo of the Earl to the Escheator says that the Prince (as Earl) was informed that the said Thomas died seized of many more lands and tenements in the county than the one messuage, 20 acres of land, 1 acre of meadow, one water mill in Haslington, which he held of Richard, son of Richard de Vernon of Shipbroke, a minor, and which were of the yearly value of four marks, etc. (Hall) The murderers of Thomas Malbon, I take it, were Staffordshire men. A Nicholas Parker was a pensioner of Edmund, Earl of Stafford in the year 1404 and John Parker was one of the Earl=92s esquires in 1400. The Swynnertons were of Swynnerton in Staffs also. Feuds were rife. Every man carried a sword or dagger, or both, for his personal protection; for such were =93the good old days! By his wife Ellen this Thomas had sons William and Richard.

WILLIAM MALBON succeeded his father, and apparently the family had been up to something for they figure in the Recog. Rolls of the year 1408-9 as grantees of a pardon.

WILLIAM MALBON appears as a son of the above and next in descent and his name occurs in 1475 as a co-surety for Sir Robert Fouleshurst. Incidentally Robert Fouleshurst, esq., held one part of the Barony of Wich-Malbanc in 1487-8. It was apparently this William, states Hall, who was present as a juror at Wistaston Church in 1466 when =93proof of age=94 of John Bruen was taken. William had issue Thomas, John, Ralph, and a daughter, Agnes. RALPH MALBON succeeded and in 1497-8 (Ormerod) is granted by deed of Nicholas Chirche and Robert Hayfield, chaplains, all the lands in Haslington, or elsewhere in the County, in tail, which they had of the gift of William Malbon in tail male remainder to Agnes, daughter to the said William Malbon, in tail. If this pedigree is correct, then Ralph married late in life to have a son George.

In the Subsidy Roll of the Township of Haslington, in which Bradeley is situated, dated 1545, Ralph Malbon is mentioned as assessed at 14s. for goods valued at 8 pounds sterling. One may conjecture the Malbons were shrewd and never put all their eggs in one basket. The Escheator and the Tax-gatherer were men whom all preferred to give a wide berth if at all possible. There were no municipal offices where records were kept. The owner personally possessing a parchment personally possessed his land, and the right to it.

This evasion scheme is better understood by an excerpt from Gibbins Industrial Hist. Of Eng., p. 73: Effects of the Plague (1348): The fact that the larger land-owners found the cost of working their land doubled or even trebled caused important economic changes. Before the Plague the cost of harvesting upon an ordinary estate, quoted by Professor Rogers, was 3.13s.9d.: afterwards it rose to 12.19s.10d. Moreover, the landlord had to consent to receive lower rents, for many tenants could not work their farms profitably with the old rents, and the new prices for labour and implements. And, as rent is paid out of the profits of agriculture, it was obvious even to the landlord that smaller profits meant lower rents.

If Thomas held more land than he is credited with it is likely that he found it more profitable to allow his brothers, or immediate family to take over sections as tenant farmers. Apparently this was done in one case. It was at this period that the tenant farmer or yeoman class came into being. The fact that Thomas and his predecessors bore the rank of gentleman or esquire by virtue of being a J.P. mattered little to them. In the matter of land wealth or the accumulation of large land holdings they evidently did not seek for anything greater than they had all through the centuries. Perhaps their ambition was deadened by the responsibilities attached. Gentlemen though they were by right of birth they never aspired to anything more expansive than the privilege of holding and operating an ordinary-sized farm. Right down to the end of their main line and its ultimate extinction for want of male issue we find their status quo always the same. At least one can give them the credit of being consistent!

Pre-1700 Part 2
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